Situated 20 km away from Sattahip naval base on the eastern seaboard, Bang Sarray is a small but expanding village centred close to its fishing pier and safe harbour. Hope House is in the heart of Bang Sarray village a quiet and peaceful area of Thailand. We chose this site because it is quiet enough to be conducive towards recovery. Here the clients can become a part of a small community again. The access to go to yoga studios, temples, sports facilities and village events means they have a taste of real life, in which they can practise their new sober life skills.
Bang Sarray has grown from a sleepy fishing village where the only activity was the coming and going of fishing boats as they set off each day to make their catch. Due to the superb location it has been “slightly” developed by one or two high end villa projects. But this has not affected its village atmosphere. The beach and the blue waters are not populated by bars or clubs and make it a perfect space for clients to spend time relaxing and eating local Western and Thai cuisine. While the main population is Thai the remainder is made up of European nationalities including Norwegian, Dutch, British, Irish, French, Italian and some Australians that have settled here. This is reflected by most nationalities occupying a guest house or restaurant in the village. Grumpys is an English owned eatery serving a host of home cooked English dishes, then you have the Belgian bakery/restaurant selling fresh bread and the Italian on the main street to name just a few.
Places of Interest
Sattahip Naval base is around 20 km away to the east. The history behind Sattahip is connected to a woman named Jang, who owned many acres of land in Sattahip District. The Admiral Prince Abhakara Kiartivongse, a son of King Rama V, came with plans to form a naval base at Sattahip. The thinking behind this was that the many small islands offered protection from wind and waves. He asked Jang for land on the seacoast, and she donated the area the prince needed.
In Thai, satta means seven, while hip means barrier. So Sattahip means the seven barriers, which are the islands that protect the coast of the district. These islands are Ko Phra, Ko Yor, Ko Moo, Ko Taomo, Ko Nen, Ko Sanchalam, and Ko Bo. There are many more islands just off the coast of Ban Sarray being protected and owned by the Thai navy. The reason for this is more to do with the conservation of sea turtles that lay eggs here. Today we have several beaches owned by the Navy which the public are allowed to use, our clients often relax with a coffee here when we have free time and at weekends.
Wihan Sian Chinese Temple and Museum
The large three storey Chinese-style structure known as Wihan Sian is both a museum and a place of worship. It was built by Thai-Chinese descendants in honour of the King Bhumibol’s 60th birthday in 1997. Set in 3 acres of grounds the museum is close to the beautiful lake on the Wat Yangsangwararam temple complex.
There are Chinese god sculptures displayed from the Mahayana and Theravada Buddhist sects on each floor including The Guan Yin statues all of which are made from white marble. You will also find some very unique items like a number of terracotta warriors and horses, chariots from the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi as well as a golden throne from this era. This is one of a few places which a terracotta army like this can be seen, one of the biggest outside of China.
Also this the museum is home to a large number of other items, such as granite carvings, old paintings, bronze statues and ancient pottery, sculptures of Chinese Gods, Buddha statues and a jade statue of Guanyin, the Chinese Goddess of Mercy. Some items found here are from the famous Chinese Ming dynasty. It truly is an amazing afternoon out and a chance to see Chinese history in Thailand.
Nearby at Khao Chee Chan is the Guinness Book of Records holder for the largest image of Buddha in the world. Unlike most Buddha images, the largest is not a statue, but a cliff face inlaid with gold leaf in the outline of a sitting Buddha. It is 130 meters tall, 70 meters wide, and can be seen from miles away. The image and mountain are alternately referred to as “Buddha Mountain”, Khao Chee Chan, or “Phra Phuttha Maha Vachira Utta Mopas Sasada”.
The story behind Buddha Mountain dates from the Vietnam War. The Thai navy were permitted to mine the mountain for stone to be used at nearby U-Tapao Airfield, then an American base. But after the war, the mountain was illegally mined for stone to be sold to construction companies. In 1976, His Majesty King Bhumibol put a stop to the mining. At his suggestion, his children created the Buddha image to commemorate the King’s 1996 Golden Jubilee, the 50th anniversary of his accession. Using American laser technology, the carving was completed in two days, but months were required to fill the resulting grooves with gold. The cost of the entire project was about 150 million baht (over $3 million).
Islands and Turtle preservation
Monkey Island (actual name Kledkaew Saikaew)
A small undeveloped island that is home only to monkeys, they actually are quite tame due to the constant arrival of tourists who feed them. We have our own small boat and travel there as part of the boat excursion once a month at least. Although they are quite tame they are notorious thieves so don’t have anything on display of value when traveling here. They will get very close and some will actually climb into your arms looking for food and affection. No reports of any untoward events happening here and usually a very fun trip.
One of the few islands off the coast of Bang Sarray that allow tourists on them, most of the islands are protected by the navy as the are national park areas with large sea turtles coming here to breed and lay their eggs here. It has several beaches and places to swim and snorkel. Lots of small restaurants with Thai food available. Here clients can really unwind and enjoy an afternoon at the beach.